Need help? Call our helpline…

5pm–midnight, 365 days a year …or find help online here

Nationwide

0800 58 58 58

London

0808 802 58 58

Use

Webchat
Need help? Call our helpline 0800 58 58 58
or Use our WEBCHAT.

The Loneliness of Modern Life: Depression

If you’re anything like me then you’ll find modern life pretty god-damn hard. The constant struggle against that internal negativity eating away at all of the positive decisions that you try to make; the barrage of other peoples perfect lives and aspirational dreams shared through the media; the judgement and criticism that people give so openly in this era of no-consequence free speech.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll take this negativity and apply it to yourself. I’m not successful enough; I’m not healthy or fit enough; I’m not wealthy, nor do I own all the trendy stuff that people want; I don’t have a car; I don’t have hundreds of friends; I’m not in a stable long term relationship; I don’t have own my own house; I haven’t had a holiday in over 6 years… This constant measuring against others is so tiring, and yet it’s always there as a part of my depression.

Some days I can feel it building like a storm on the horizon. Dark clouds blocking out the light as my vision narrows and all I can see is everything that I’m not. All of the wrong choices and bad decisions that I’ve made come back to me in a flood of uncontrollable regret. If only I’d have done this instead. Why didn’t I say that? I shouldn’t have cancelled on my friends that day. My overly logical brain can see every negative decision that brought me here today, sat in this rented room at my second hand laptop as I live through a blizzard of questions about where I should be, yet justifying why I’m not with my self-proclaimed unworthiness.

So what can I do during these times when the dark storms grow? I get up; I go to work; I come home and cocoon in the duvet with a movie or a book; I wake up and repeat. Routine is amazing. It means that when you are incapable of thinking, when all the noise of the modern world becomes unbearable, you can just put your headphones in and tick each box, one after another and make it through the day. It’s not living, but it works.

It might not be what I had in mind when I was younger, this cold realism of the grown-up world where the adults with all their confidence and money define what it is to be alive. When I was a kid I saw myself as a modern day Captain Planet, all clad in green Lycra and fighting the corruption and evil that is destroying the Earth. Unstoppable. Righteous. Successful… Now the only time I wear Lycra is to battle the hoards of angry cars as I cycle to work, arriving at the other end cold and wet, ready to face my day saving the world by proxy through charity admin.

I’ve recently changed jobs within the organisation. I was in charge of a team of 50 volunteers, all with their own varying problems and issues much like mine. Over the last 2 and a half years they have helped me more than any medication or counselling ever could… They accepted me for who I am. Together we built an environment that allowed us all just to be.

No judgement; no requirement; only support and guidance. With that, we had the best shop in the region. A group of friends in a pseudo self-help scenario where we all somehow managed to run a really organised business.

Outside of work though, away from the routine, a storm was building that I couldn’t avoid. So I took all my strength and focused on moving to Head Office… because that’s what successful people do, right?!

A good idea? I’m not sure just yet. My reserves are low and I don’t have my support group to go to every day. The echoes of laughter and constant joking insults drift around the quiet office behind the clatter of keyboards. I wonder if my new colleagues know that I’m struggling. Can they sense it? Can they see the scars? What do they think of me? I feel like an outsider, like I don’t deserve to be here. I’ve gone back to being the quiet one… The storm never reached me fully this time, but the grey skies did. There’s an annoying constant drizzle which dampens my spirits every day.

Yet I feel strong. Stronger than I have since I had my breakdown.

Yeah I’m a little low at times; I’m not as confident as I could be; yeah I’m not as fit as I was. I’ve moved away from my friends, but I did it for the right reasons. I might not be able to see it all the time but if you’d have asked me 3 years ago if I would be capable of getting another job, let alone relocating to HQ, I’d have laughed in your face and then run back to the safety of my duvet.

Each morning I put my watch on. A leaving gift from my volunteers, it reminds me of where I’ve come from and the strength that I now have because of them. Underneath it is a small tattoo, the Norse symbol for new beginnings, a permanent reminder of the dawn, that each day we get another chance. Slowly I’m building my defences against The Black Dog. Each little success is a new weapon, a new torch in the darkness.

I am alive… but more than that, I am beginning to live again.

If you feel like you need to talk to someone, call CALM on 0800 585858 or use our web chat service. It’s free, anonymous and confidential, and you’ll speak to trained professionals. And don’t worry, it won’t show up on your phone bill. 

Related issues

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

  • YOUR VOICE: Diagnosis

    YOUR VOICE: Diagnosis

    Diagnosis. Wow. That sounds really serious, doesn’t it? This story isn’t going to be, don’t worry. Not really anyway. I suppose it is serious though, isn’t…

  • A Manly Man – Boxer Makes The Cut

    A Manly Man – Boxer Makes The Cut

    “You ugly Monkey. You scum, that’s why she didn’t want you. No fucking woman wants you. She wasn’t good enough for you anyway, but you still fucked…

  • YOUR VOICE: Forever In Our Hearts

    YOUR VOICE: Forever In Our Hearts

    It was Thursday July 1st 1993, my 10th birthday, when the phone rang. It was Uncle Charlie, my dad’s slightly older brother and best man. After a…

  • Sanity In The City: Work Relationships

    Sanity In The City: Work Relationships

      Relationships at work are tough enough at the best of times. You’re squeezed into a building with hundreds of people you don’t really know and…

  • YOUR VOICE: Depression Pathologising My Own Identity

    YOUR VOICE: Depression Pathologising My Own Identity

    Hello, my name’s Will Turner and I’m depressed… No no, that sounds shit… wait, let me have another go. Depression huh? It’s a funny thing… Christ. I’ve…

  • Boom and Bust

    Boom and Bust

    You’re a dude.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be kind to your mind and body.  ItchiFeet was set up by best mates, Bertie and Olly, bringing good grub…

  • A Letter To My Fallen Brothers

    A Letter To My Fallen Brothers

    This open letter was sent in to CALM. It’s powerful stuff, and might be upsetting for some people. Our help pages are listed at the bottom.…

  • Falling Off and Getting Back on the Road to Recovery

    Falling Off and Getting Back on the Road to Recovery

    So I wrote an article a few months back when I was first coming to terms with my condition, and how important it was and is…

  • The Power of Counter-Thought

    The Power of Counter-Thought

    We all have that little voice inside our heads. That little voice of doubt. For some of us it’s a quiet one, not always noticeable, but…

Latest Articles